Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots App Poster Image
Program robots with code blocks, plenty of creative options.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to program using visual blocks of code, similar to the Scratch programming language. They'll work with programming concepts such as sequencing, events, loops, algorithms, conditionals, and variables as they drag and drop the code into place to control the robots. The larger robot, Dash, moves on wheels and can light up and make sounds. Dot, the smaller, is designed to be touched -- shaken, tilted, dropped -- and respond, also with lights and sounds. There are lots of programming apps that teach kids how to use blocks of code, but with Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots, kids see their code come to life.

Ease of Play

Programming puzzles get progressively more challenging and move pretty quickly to advanced concepts.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

Dash can be programmed to make funny yet crude sounds, such as farts, and kids can record their own sound effects and phrases.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dash and Dot are a pair of robots from Wonder Workshop with five accompanying apps that help kids program the robots. Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots introduces them to coding using visual blocks of code. Though the apps are free, the robots must be purchased either individually or as a package deal, ranging from $49.99 to $249.99, and they work via Bluetooth. Kids work through a hands-on tutorial and then can complete puzzles wherein they must write the prescribed programs. They can also create their own programs and save them in-app. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

A Driving School lesson starts kids off with BLOCKLY FOR DASH AND DOT ROBOTS, introducing them to the commands that drive the robots. Once kids have their license, they can complete themed puzzles and unlock more as they advance or create original programs. Dash and Dot can drive in all directions, look toward a voice, light up in different colors, and make different sounds, including custom-recorded sounds. Kids can add in other variables to make the robots respond to obstacles and other conditions, too.

Is it any good?

Though these big-eyed robots may be absolutely adorable and good for lots of laughs with their quirky sound effects, they're actually teaching kids logic and hands-on coding skills. Creating their own projects is truly how kids can learn and have fun -- experimenting, taking risks, and applying logic and creativity. In terms of drawbacks, the puzzles are sometimes buggy, and there's very little help for kids who get stuck: The hints simply repeat the original instructions with slightly different wording and a bit of elaboration. However, the options available for sounds, lights, and movement make the possibilities for what kids can do with Dash and Dot almost endless. Though the robots are prohibitively expensive for many families, the potential for learning and fun is great, and perhaps the prices will fall over time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how robots are used today and how they could be used in the future.

  • Talk about the features of Dash and Dot that make them seem more lifelike. How does that make us relate to them?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free (Requires $149.99 Dash or $49.99 Dot robot from Wonder Workshop.)
  • Release date: November 1, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Robots
  • Size: 116.00 MB
  • Publisher: Wonder Workshop
  • Version: 2.9.7
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love coding and STEM apps

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